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Can an artist do the 'heil'-salute like the Nazis did during WW2? Artist Jonathan Meese was taken to court in Germany and won the trial. Here the artist explains why it is important to empty symbols of their meaning when fighting political ideology.

”He has a vision, and that is more than what most people have.” In this interview German artist Jonathan Meese and his mother Brigitte Meese tell us the story of the recent German trial, in which Meese was taken to court for heiling during an interview with the magazine Der Spiegel.

Meese was freed of all charges because German constitution says that artists can use the nazi salute as part of their art, while it is illegal to do in Germany if you are not an artist. After the trial many political activists have tried to do the salute claiming to be artists, too. Jonathan Meese rages against these activists calling them traitors of art.

Jonathan Meese also explains why he didn't have followers like Pussy Riot when he was accused. "This is because I am not left wing or right wing, I am against all politicians, all ideology. And people can't relate to this as they can to Pussy Riot," Meese says.

To Meese, the truth is simple: “In a cup, there is no ideology. It’s your projection. It’s in your brain! No animal has a fear of a symbol! A political activist is never an artist, is never in the room of art. If you are right wing or left wing, you are a very, very bad person. I hate people who are political. These people are traitors of art.”

Jonathan Meese is interviewed with his 84-year old mother, who has been working with him for 22 years. Watch our video about their collaboration here:

Read what BBC wrote about the trial here:

Jonathan Meese (b. 1970) is a German artist who works with paintings, sculptures, installations and performances, which are all about The Dictatorship of Art.

Jonathan and Brigitte Meese were interviewed at Galleri Bo Bjerggaard by Christian Lund, January 2014.

Camera: Lea Hjort Mathiesen
Edited by: Kamilla Bruus
Produced by: Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2014

Supported by Nordea-fonden



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